Lies about the “oppression of the Shi‘ah” and others.
By Muhammad al-Baghdadi.
Translated by Muhammad Abu Nasr
We have heard a lot about how the Shi‘ah were supposedly oppressed in the time when the Arab Socialist Baath Party ruled Iraq. We’ve heard about how they were supposedly not treated equally with other Iraqis.
In fact, however, these are nothing but lies fabricated as part of a psychological warfare propaganda campaign aimed at Iraqi citizens – a campaign waged by the US military and its experts in psychological warfare in order to pave the way for their occupation of Iraq.
We don’t plan to delve into the details or goals of that sinister campaign here. Instead we hope to briefly respond to some of the claims they make.
I’ll begin with myself. I come from a Shi‘i background, which is to say that my father is a scion of a Shi‘i family. Yet I worked as a government employee in the Iraqi state, close to the policy makers, and in fact I participated in the making of policy in the areas of the economy and administration of the state. But no one ever asked me what sect I belong to or what my religion is. Furthermore, I have never heard of anyone asking such questions or of any discrimination among the people in whose proximity I worked and who had responsibilities and functions both above and below me. I might point out that some of my coworkers took on ministerial level posts and high-ranking military commands, but never once did I hear any questions raised about anyone’s religious affiliation. When we used to discuss the evaluation of an official as a candidate for a high-ranking post in the Iraqi government, it didn’t occur to anyone to ask about what religion he belonged to or what sect he was a member of, as is claimed by the nonsensical ideas being spread in accordance with the occupation’s psychological warfare plans.
Such lies on the part of the invaders and their stooges, whereby they try to hoodwink people in order to split up the unity of Iraq, have prompted me today to set out the facts about the nature of the cadres of the Iraqi state and their backgrounds in order to refute those mendacious claims. My aim is not in any way to deepen sectarian differences or bring them into higher relief, nor am I just trying to defend a political regime, as those who are trying to distort reality might have people believe. My only purpose is to set forth the facts and bring out the truth. To that end, I must set out the following facts, and they are just a few of many, many more that could be cited.
The post of Permanent Representative of Iraq to the UN was held by one Kurd during the Baath Period – ‘Ismat Kattani – and by one Shi‘i of Kurdish origin – ‘Abd al-Karim ash-Shaykhli.
The Sunnis who held the post of Permanent Representative in the UN were:
One of the most tragicomic features of the present time is the fact that those Baath Party members who turned against the Baath and threw themselves into the arms of the American CIA and collaborated with them in their aggression against Iraq and their occupation of the country were Shi‘ah, and it is they who today weep and wail about the “oppression” of the Shi‘ah in the time of the Baath in which they held positions. But those people are not true children of Iraq, whether they be Shi‘i or anything else. They are nothing but scum, a gang of hired stooges who promote the plans of the occupation for their petty aims.
Among them, for example, are:
Iyyad ‘Allawi, a Shi‘i who was a member of a Baath Party Section,
Tahir al-Baka’, a Shi‘i who was a member of a Baath Party Section,
Rasim al-‘Awwadi, a Shi‘i who was a member of a Baath Party Branch,
Hazim ash-Sha‘lan, a Shi‘i who was a member of a Baath Party Base,
Dawud al-Basri, a Shi‘i who writes in the newspapers was a high-ranking official in the Iraqi Embassy in Kuwait,
Zuhayr Kazim ‘Abbud, a Shi‘i who was a member of a Baath Party Division,
Mundhir al-Fadl, a Shi‘i who was a member of a Baath Party Division,
Brigadier General Sa‘d al-‘Ubaydi, a Shi‘i who was a member of a Baath Party Section,
Falih Hassun ad-Darraji, a Shi‘i who was a member of a Baath Party Section,
Hashim al-‘Aqqabi, a Shi‘i who was an active member of the Saddam Branch organizations,
Hasan al-‘Alawi, a Shi‘i who was a member of a Baath Party Division.
Amir al-Hilw, a journalist and general director in the Ministry of Information was a member of a Baath Party Division (the al-Muthanna Division, the area of Zayunah in Baghdad).
‘Abd al-Karim al-Muhammadawi, a Staff Sergeant who deserted from the Iraqi military, a Shi‘i who was a high-ranking aide in the organizations of the ar-Rafidayn military Section in the Baath Party Military Branch in Dhi Qar Province.
‘Abd al-Wahid al-Hasawnah, a Shi‘i member of a Baath Party Section, but also a leading member of the “Accord Movment” led by the criminal Iyyad ‘Allawi
Before I conclude this little piece, I feel I must mention a few things that might perhaps be unknown to some people:
First, Dr. ‘Adnan ‘Aziz Jabiru who was a general director in the state. He is a Christian who was nominated to ministerial posts on several occasions, but emphatically rejected them because he preferred to stay in his position where he served the citizens. He was the boldest person I have ever known in my life in his frank confrontations with all officials and members of the leadership. He wasn’t a Baath Party member and he was no more than one meter tall.
Second, Dr. Umid Midhat Mubarak, a Kurd and an independent as far as political membership went, was a member of the National Assembly and as a physician he was a member of the social and health committee in the Assembly, whose task it was to evaluate the work and services of the Ministry of Health. In this capacity in one Assembly session, he spoke boldly and criticized the Minister for weakness in the Ministry’s services. At the time, the Minister of Health was Dr. Sadiq Hamid ‘Allush, a Member of the Command of the Central Committee of the Baath Party and a veteran Baathi. When that Minister was dismissed after those criticisms leveled by Dr. Umid Midhat Mubarak, a decree was issued naming Dr. Umid Midhat Mubarak counselor to the Presidency and then, later, Minister of Health. I don’t know what kind of “oppression” anybody can speak of there, unless they are stooges of the occupation and participants in its plans.
Third, for the first time in the history of the Iraqi state, the Governor of the Iraqi Central Bank was one of our Christian brothers, Mr. Subhi Farankul. That was during the period of Baath Party rule. He enjoyed unprecedented respect over all others who held that post for his high professionalism and great expertise. His position at the head of the bank was repeatedly extended, despite the fact that he had passed the legal age of retirement and despite his permanent desire to retire from work. The deputy Bank Governors during that period was ‘Asim Muhammad Salih, a Shi‘i.
Fourth, the general directors and high officials in the Iraqi state were provided with a personal car from the state every two years, at the cost of its importation with no customs charges attached – a practice aimed at factilitating their work, that was instituted after the earlier policy of supplying government departments with their own cars was cancelled. Just like those top officials, the Shi‘i religious authorities of the al-Haydariyah, al-Husayniyah, al-‘Abbasiyah, and al-Kazimiyah religious centers were provided with their own cars on the same terms as were given to those high government officials. The same practice also extended to the major Shi‘i religious leaders in Karbala’, an-Najaf, Baghdad, and al-Basrah, and one of those to receive a car on such terms was ‘Ali as-Sistani. These Shi‘i religious figures also received the same financial perquisites given to those top government officials in order to allow them to spend more as needed during those difficult times of the embargo. I am a witness to the truth of this before God, and anyone else because that was my former official responsibility. I will remain a witness to the fact that orders were issued to give a Mercedes car to many of them from the Republican Palace transportation unit, and one of those who benefited from that was the late Muhammad Sadiq as-Sadr.
Fifth, I must mention one of the Iraqi military commanders, Staff Lieutenant General Yaljin ‘Umar ‘Adil, a Turcoman. For the first time in history a Turcoman was appointed commander of a division. He was one of the heroes of the war with Iran and commander of the 6th Division in the 1991 War. He then served as an aide to the Chief of Staff in the 1990s, despite all the wounds from which his body suffered for the sake of Iraq.
These are just a few bits of evidence to show that Iraq was a real state, and certainly not a regime based on religious sectarianism as the occupation forces and their stooges now claim in order to push their program for splitting up Iraq. I wished to set this down and to relate the story of a cousin, Colonel “A. M.”, whose house was seized by the Badr Brigade gang who claim to be Shi‘ah. They expelled him and his family from their home and they attacked his wife after they heard that he might be a member of the Iraqi Resistance. Even though he was of Shi‘i background, he is Iraqi before all else, and this is something that the stooges and the depraved cannot comprehend.
14 Safar 1426 – 25 March 2005.
Arabic original at: